We investigated the impact of an augmented reality (AR) versus interactive simulation (IS) activity incorporated in a computer learning environment to facilitate students' learning of a socio-scientific issue (SSI) on nuclear power plants and radiation pollution. We employed a quasi-experimental research design. Two classes (a total of 45 ninth-grade students) were randomly assigned to either the AR or IS treatments. We compared three outcome variables of the AR and IS groups: knowledge of and attitude towards the SSI, and perceptions of the AR or IS feature. We also examined the interplay among the three variables within each of the two groups. The results indicated no significant differences in knowledge and attitude, but a significant difference in the perceptions between the two groups. Moreover, different patterns of correlations among the variables were identified. The implication includes educational impact of emerging AR technologies to support affective aspects of student learning of SSIs.
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